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Snakebite death due to pandemic

Snakebite victim, Manisha Thombre, 38 yr-old, mother of two young children.

Manisha Thombre, hailing from Redani village in Indapur taluka under Pune District of Maharashtra, had lost her mother to Covid 19 a few weeks ago. She had come to her maiden home in Jalochi, a semi-urban village near Baramati town to attend her mother’s funeral rituals and provide emotional support to the family. On 22nd May 2021, Manisha was sweeping the floor outside the bathroom area when she was bitten by a snake. The snake quickly slunk away. It was 7.30 a.m. and the family immediately rushed her to the nearest hospital.

Since March 2021, India had been struggling with the second wave of Covid 19. Most hospitals across the country were stretched beyond capacity in an attempt to manage the rising surge of seriously ill Covid 19  patients. All other medical emergencies were therefore put on the back burner. The family visited the below mentioned five hospitals where the patient was denied admission due to unavailability of an ICU bed and referred to other hospitals.

1) Silver Jubilee Hospital (Government hospital), 2) Government Women Hospital (Govt. hospital), 3) Deshpande Hospital (Private hospital), 4) Bhoite Hospital (Pvt. hospital), and 5) Baramati Hospital (Private hospital).

The patient ultimately died without receiving treatment at around 10 a.m. Manisha Thombre was 38 years old and is survived by her husband and two young children – a son and a daughter aged 7-years and 3 years respectively.

Around 3 p.m. the same day Manisha died, a family member saw a snake slithering around the house. They immediately called a well-known local rescuer, Amol Jadhav whose residence was just 2 kms away.  Jadhav immediately arrived at the scene and looked around corners and crevices. Ultimately he lifted the slab on which the washing machine was kept. A medium sized spectacled cobra was caught from under the slab. The snake was safely rescued and packed into a plastic jar to be deposited at the local forest office to be later released in a close by location. The family and neighbours asked Jadhav to hand over the captured snake to them. They wanted to burn it alive. Jadhav did not relent. He managed to get out of the place with the snake. Later that evening the snake was released in a forested area nearby in the presence of the local forest department.

The next day, Jadhav got a call again from Manisha’s  family. Another slightly larger cobra was sighted in a corner of the house. Jadhav immediately visited the place and rescued the second snake. One explanation for finding two snakes of the same species in the house is the breeding time of reptiles during March-July.

The cobra rescued from the site on the second day by rescuer, Amol Jadhav.

Manisha Thombre’s family is struggling to live without her.   Her young children lost their mother to a condition that is treatable. The victim was taken to the hospital without any delay. This death occurred simply due to the non-availability of health care due to the pandemic.

A life lost in vain!

Incident covered by local print media.

Written by Priyanka Kadam (as narrated by Amol Jadhav, Baramati).

Amol Jadhav, Field coordinator of this story.

Amol Jadhav lives in Baramati under Pune district of Maharashtra. He is a graduate engineer and an MBA working in an MNC. He is known as @SnakeTufani on social media and has been rescuing snakes for the last 15 years. Jadhav created the first “Snake Friend” App in India which is available on the Google play store as an android version.

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